Chapter Four, The Spiritual Realm

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In Chapter Four, The Spiritual Realm, of John Barker’s novel “Ancestral Lines, the Maisin of Papua New Guinea and the Fate of the Rainforest”, Barker explores the theme of religion within the Maisin culture. Dividing the chapter into sections, Barker lays out the foundations of the Maisin religion which takes into consideration both Christianity and Sorcery, which can best be described through the quotation “Sunday Christians, Monday Sorcerers (Kahn 1983)” (Barker 2008:131). In terms of sorcery, the Maisin saw it as an evil expression of retaliation though no one outwardly admits to such crimes, therefore he learns that it is more used to explain misfortunate events. Despite this, it’s noted that the fear of sorcery keeps a social balance,…show more content…
For instance, Barker makes a note of pointing out that prayers and bible reading are all conducted in English, which connects to the idea of historical linguistics mentioned in Hedican’s novel. In this section Hedican explains that languages change over time and incorporates new ways of speaking. This such idea is true for the Maisin as they are subject to learning English to understand the teachings of missionaries and priests. In addition, in reference to the culture section of Social Anthropology, Hedican’s mentions that one type of “culture change involves contact with other societies” (Hedican 2012:13). This idea is seen in Ancestral Lines as Barker’s main focus is on how Christianity has affected the Maisin culture, and what he learns is that the Maisin have adapted the western religion into their everyday culture. To close, the ideas from Hedican’s novel about how societies are always adapting and changing, are directly related to the key points in the fourth chapter of Barker’s novel, as he concludes that Christianity has changed much of the Maisin’s way of…show more content…
Ever since the first missionaries arrived in Uaiku, the Maisin had hoped they could end sorcery and for this reason it would make sense that eventually sorcery would become a thing of the past. In fact, in a way, sorcery has already become more of an idea then a practice due to the purge in 1997, when objects that were seen as being associated with sorcery were through to the sea. Furthermore, several families have grown to understand sorcery as an evil act that derives from satin himself, discouraging them from associating with it. However, despite these reasons some ideas associated with sorcery will probably always be a part of the Maisin culture. In addition to some believing that sorcerers must have a purpose if God was willing to create them, the fear of sorcery its self keeps villagers humble in their actions and behaviours. Therefore, even though sorcery is considered evil, this is one benefit of believing in its existence. Nevertheless, this small gain cannot outweigh the negatives, meaning that Christianity will almost certainly become the sole religion within the Maisin

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